Two Burger King employees were forced into the cooler during an armed robbery Wednesday morning in Maple Grove, Minn.
Police said the crime fits the pattern of a string of robberies along the Interstate 94 corridor, and investigators hope surveillance photos in this case may help identify the suspect or the robber's vehicle.
Capt. Keith Terlinden, of the Maple Grove Police Department, said the Burger King located at 13840 Grove Drive N. was robbed at gunpoint at 6:12 a.m. Wednesday. A man with a gray zip-up jacket, ski mask and gloves entered the restaurant with a semi-automatic handgun and demanded money.
"His actions appear to be calm in nature, which leads us to believe it's obviously not his first time being involved in a robbery," Terlinden said. "Displaying and having a handgun the entire time is very concerning to us."
The two Burger King employees who were forced into the cooler also had their cell phones taken away during the incident.
Surveillance camera photos show the suspect leaving the scene in what police believe is a dark-colored Dodge Durango, possibly a 2005 model.Police said the vehicle description is critical, because no vehicle description was obtained from the other robberies.
While a connection between six robberies in communities along I-94 cannot be confirmed at this time, police pointed to similarities in each case.
Big Lake Police Chief Joel Scharf said the photos from the Maple Grove robbery are "definitely consistent" with the Sept. 14 robbery of a Subway shop in Big Lake. In that case, employees were also forced into the cooler.
"The pictures from Maple Grove are incredibly similar to the ones we saw take place here," Scharf said.
Scharf added that investigators from several communities gathered Wednesday morning to compare notes of the recent robberies.
I-94 CORRIDOR ROBBERIES
- 2 cases in Monticello, Minn.
- 2 cases in Sauk Rapids, Minn.
- 1 case in Big Lake, Minn.
- 3 Burger Kings robbed
- 2 GameStop stores robbed
- 1 Subway robbed
A similar profile appears in each instance, and authorities believe the man seen on the Burger King surveillance video may be responsible for seven of the armed robberies reported between Maple Grove and St. Cloud.
Anyone with information regarding the suspect vehicle or his identity is urged to contact Maple Grove police at 753-494-6100. Tips can also be submitted anonymously via Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477, texting tip information to "Tip674" or submitting a tip online at http://www.crimestoppersmn.org/.